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Scoop Feedback - Israel's Illegal Occupation

Feedback - Letter to the Editor

By Bill Sharman - USA

Re: Civilian Blood Flows - Israel Commits "Disproportionate Lethal Force"

Selwyn Manning, you've got your facts wrong when you write in your Sunday, 31 March 2002 article that Israel is "continuing an illegal occupation of Palestinian territory."

Israel has a historic right to the land within its current borders, and a historic right to even MORE land.

Another point: Your headline misses the mark. Why not headline the story "Israel Moves to Protect Citizens from Terror?"

By the way, Selwyn, have you explored the REAL occupation in the Middle East that has been taking place for more than two decades?

Check it out and expose what Syria has been doing to Lebanon. Don't dismiss this; take your responsibility as a journalist seriously.

Bill Sharman

Spectator responds -

Dear Bill,

thank you for your email regarding my article reporting the latest in the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

The use of the word "illegal occupation" is taken from statements issued by the United Nations secretary general, Koffi Annan.

I appreciate the complexities of the crisis facing the two peoples - both historical and current. However the purpose of this article was to explore the position the United Nations has taken to stop the ongoing killings in the Middle East, and indeed what the United State's position is on Israel's latest advance into Palestinian territory is.

The headline centred therefore on worldwide concerns that Israel continues to use, as the United Nations has put it: "Disproportionate lethal force" against civilians within territories it has no mandate to occupy.

While Israel may justify this style of aggression as defending its citizens, it appears this weekend the majority of the world's nations do not subscribe to this justification.

I note your comments regarding Syrian/Lebanese relations.
Thank you once again for your letter, and may I invite you to correspond whenever you feel compelled.

Regards, Selwyn Manning - Editor,

On 1 Apr 2002 at 7:36, Bill Sharman wrote:

Mr Manning, you say "illegal occupation" is taken from Annan's statements - THEN SAY SO when you use the phrase in the first paragraph of your story!

Also, check your history and you'll find that there has never been a sovereign country of Palestine -- and there is no distinct Palestinian people.

The use of the term "Palestinian" in its current context is a very recent fabrication.

Other than noting my comments about Syrian/Lebanese "relations," what do you plan to write about the oppression of the Lebanese by the regime in Damascus?
Sincerely, Bill Sharman.

Reporter responds:

Dear Mr Sharman,

If you care to read my article: "UN Resolution Passes as Israel Advances Murder Spree" dated March 14 2002 then you will see that indeed the statement "illegal occupation" is attributed to Koffi Annan.

As is clearly displayed in the articles on the Middle East struggle, each one is the latest instalment in a serial of carnage. Therefore, one article sits not in isolation, but within a collective.

Also, as editor, should I choose to editorialise on any issue... that remains my prerogative.

Your claim that there has never been a sovereign country of Palestine has no relevance to references made to a peoples. It is your right to disagree. Value judgements, and indeed values, are variable and sacred to the possessor.

Regards, Selwyn Manning - Editor

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